It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, is the traditional refrain for those who want to point out the contest is not done. Well…she didn’t sing last night perhaps because she was too busy voting for Donald Trump.
With one third of the votes, “the Donald” won the South Carolina primary yesterday albeit by a smaller margin than predicted, but that doesn’t really matter. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz finished second and third in South Carolina (22.5% vs. 22.3) much better than anticipated, but that doesn’t mater. Neither does it matter that Jeb Bush dropped out.
None of it really matters, because unless John Kasich and Ben Carson drop out and make this an official 3-way race Donald Trump will most probably run out the string and become the next Republican nominee for president. Should that happen, unless she gets arrested during the middle of the campaign Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.
Today you will hear pundits say Marco Rubio won last night, they’re wrong. Marco did well but he place second, that simply make him the best loser.
But there were positive results for the Trump opposition. The Donald faded down the stretch. Some January polls showed him at well over 40% of the vote much higher than the 33% he received. Late voters went to Rubio as they did in Iowa, and Rubio seemed to pick up the momentum he lost after the disastrous New Hampshire debate.
Ted Cruz’s strong attacks on Trump hurt the Billionaire Bloviator, the last week of the S.C. primary saw the Texas senator moving up although not as much as Rubio.
National polls as of now show that Trump would lose to Hillary, while Cruz and Rubio would each defeat the former secretary of state.
Mark your calendars, the “SEC” primaries are in a week and two days. Nevada caucuses are this Tuesday but the big prize comes the Tuesday after when the the GOP will decide 595 delegates, (almost 25% of the total 2,472 total delegates throughout the country). There will be primaries in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. Alaska and Colorado will caucus (but the Col. delegates remain unpledged).
Most of the polls in those states are too old to be considered useful (from last year). The ones that can be used show Cruz with leads in Texas and Arkansas, Rubio in Minnesota and Trump leading in the rest.
Marco Rubio has probably positioned himself to be the number one rival to Trump. Rubio is likely stronger in winner take all primaries such as Florida, Illinois, Ohio, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and others.
Starting this week, Donald Trump will be directing more of his ad hominem venom at Marco Rubio, just as he did with Ben Carson and Ted Cruz when they had the nerve to get close to the billionaire bloviator. It’s time for the Florida Senator to go on the attack, actually both Cruz and Rubio need to stop shooting each other about who did what in the gang of eight bill, and direct their campaign weapons toward the Donald. Perhaps in Iowa there are moral victories, but there are no more opportunities for moral victories in the campaign.
Both campaigns need to keep on drilling home Donald Trump’s recent conversions to conservative positions. If they weren’t working Trump wouldn’t have whined about them so hard. I would also make commercials about the Howard Stern and Neil Cavuto appearances (and the section of Trump’s book) where Trump said he supported going into Iraq, proving that he will say anything whether true or not, just to get elected. I’m sure opposition research will open other avenues. And in next week’s debate Rubio and Cruz need to press Trump for the specifics behind his bravado.
The next two weeks are going to be very interesting. As of now the fat lady is warming up and is getting support from John Kasich and Ben Carson who continue to campaign even though they have no shot at winning, they are now running solely to feed their egos.
Unless Cruz and or Rubio can pull ahead of Trump by the SEC primaries on March first, the Fat Lady will be singing loud and clear next day.